Although the Watches & Jewelry industry has traditionally lagged in terms of digital competence, we find that brands are starting to invest in the space as the industry sees deteriorating distribution through third-party retailers and an increase in vertical channels. This is particularly evident in the rapid rate of e-commerce adoption — almost half of the brands in this year’s Digital IQ Index: Watches & Jewelery are now e-commerce enabled, as compared to less than one third of brands in 2011. This year alone, five brands  — Baccarat, Montblanc, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chopard  — have launched e-boutiques.

Our study finds that the presence of e-commerce has far reaching implications beyond simply the website. Brands that are e-commerce enabled register nearly 50% greater year-on-year traffic growth then those that are not and see more than 1.5 times as many Google searches as brands who have yet to sell online. On the social side, brands with e-commerce boast more than twice as many Facebook fans and four times as many YouTube views as their non-commerce counterparts.

Surprisingly, many brands that do not have e-commerce also lack site features that seamlessly hand the consumer off to a store for purchase. Only 50% of brands provide direction to their stores and just 14% offer to arrange a viewing or consultation directly from the site.

Despite the industry still growing through its “digital adolescence,” we find that a number of Gifted brands are providing a strong site experience on par with digital leaders in other industries. David Yurman, for example, has a strong searchable e-commerce site as well as its own m-commerce channel. The mobile site, launched a year ago, includes an extensive product catalog, ad campaign imagery, and even a GPS store finder directing users to the closest David Yurman store or counter based on their location. Further exemplifying its digital sales orientation, the brand has also launched F-Commerce campaigns during the past year that allow their Facebook fans to browse products and then drives them to DavidYurman.com for purchase.

For more information on the Digital IQ Index: Watches & Jewelry, download an excerpt of the report here.

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